I'm not a contractor or anything like that, I work in the commercial food equipment business and we have been steady. Customers come and go, we have a few that have been with us for a while, but during these trying times I have noticed others have moved on to the "trunk slammers" as they are called. We're more on the pricey side, as far as parts and labor goes, but we back it up with quality. Now people aren't so much worried about quality as they are just getting it done as cheaply as possible so they can keep cooking.
Of course I have only been doing this for a few years, and our economy has been a wreck pretty much since I got into this. So my scale of reference isn't very good. I'm curious to see how we do in a "good" economy.
Regarding how I feel about the way things are. First, homes are to darned expensive. When it cost half a million dollars for a decent place to live, something is wrong with our system. When the average family brings in about 30-60k per year, and they are expected to pay for a 500k house and a 40k car, health insurance that cost an upwards of 500-1000k per month, along with an every increasing grocery bill, what can you expect.
Around here, a 30k per year job is pretty good, most jobs pay about $6-$8 per hour. Our only saving grace is most of the real estate is priced pretty cheap, large tracts of land are expensive, as are larger places out in the country. In my town, most of the homes are older than 50 years. Many are dilapidated, and need repair, but they are livable.
Take my house, I paid $46,000 for it. Its a small 3 bedroom with a .34 acre lot in town, but it's fenced in, has a full basement, and at only 850 square feet is easy to heat. Even with it's small size, the cost to keep this house going is minimal. Our heating bill is running about $100 per month. I've never owned a car with less than 100,000 miles on it. We have one old pick up and an old minivan. Both need occasional work, but both are paid for, the old age and the fact that they are paid for makes the insurance on them very cheap, about $150 per year per vehicle.
Most of this countries problem is it's own fault. If people would live within their means and not go hog wild charging up their credit cards, buying up all of the farmland and driving the cost of owning real estate to unGodly amounts of money, things wouldn't be the way they are now.
But I'm here to tell you that it is still possible to OWN a home for $250 per month. Yes, you can still buy a car for $500. Total (not a payment) The question is, when the going gets tough, how many people are willing to live within their means? I know a house right now that I thought about purchasing as an investment property for $30,000. I've walked through it and in it's present condition is livable. It really just needs some paint. If you wanted to really make it look nice it could use an updated kitchen and bathroom, and some landscaping.
So I get tired of listening to people bellyache how they cant afford their mortgage any more. These corporate dads and soccer ball moms that chose to live on the "new" side of town, you know the newer stick homes that you find in new subdivided farm lands with a walmart and lowes right around the corner.
Oh they were to good to accept an older home on the old side of town for a fraction of the cost. Oh they wouldn't be caught dead in a car that actually has over 75,000 miles on it, noooo, they had to have the big SUV. Well who's cryin' now?
When I purchased what I now own, I made about $12,000 per year, yes we were in utter POVERTY. But now that I have changed jobs and my income has went up, rather than sell off and move into the "burbs" and get into this "keeping up with the Jone's" lifestyle I elected to just stick with what we have. Now all though we are not filthy stinking rich, we do have some buffer money when groceries go up, and we are NO WHERE NEAR losing our home!